Criminal Appeals Clinic
Fall or spring semester: 3 credits
The Criminal Appeals Legal Clinic provides you with the opportunity to represent clients convicted of felony offenses in front of the Illinois Appellate Court. Working under the supervision of attorneys from the Office of the State Appellate Defender, you will review the record from trial; confer with the client; research the law to provide support for their theories; and draft and file a brief at the end of the semester. The classroom component of the clinic includes lectures on appellate procedure and roundtable discussions on students' progress throughout the semester. While the clinic specializes in appellate law, it also provides insight into trial practice. You will review and analyze the procedures, motions and evidentiary rulings that took place in the trial court. The clinic's focus on research and writing is ideal for students seeking clerkships or wanting to develop persuasive writing skills. As a product of participation, students leave with a unique writing sample to submit to potential employers: an actual brief filed in a court of appeals.
ContactPatrick Cassidy obtained his bachelorís degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he graduated with honors. Since joining the Office of the State Appellate Defender in September of 2005, he has argued many cases before the Illinois Appellate Court and three cases before the Illinois Supreme Court. Professor Cassidy became an adjunct clinical instructor at DePaul University College of Law in the spring 2011.
Maria Harrigan obtained her bachelorís degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago. She has been working at the Office of the State Appellate Defender for over 20 years. During her tenure, she has argued numerous times before the Illinois Appellate Court and three times before the Illinois Supreme Court. Professor Harrigan became an adjunct clinical instructor at DePaul University College of Law in August 2011.
Scott Main obtained his bachelorís degree from the University of Chicago and his law degree from Loyola University Chicago. He joined the Office of the State Appellate Defender in January 2002. He has appeared on behalf of clients in the Cook County Circuit Court and argued before the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court. His practice currently involves a challenge to long-standing notions of DNA reliability and an Eighth Amendment challenge to long-term incarceration of individuals with mental illness. He joined DePaul University in August 2009 as an adjunct instructor teaching Legal Analysis, Research, & Communication III.
Laura Weiler obtained both her bachelor's degree and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame, where she graduated with honors. She has worked for the Office of the State Appellate Defender for the past ten years, practicing criminal and appellate litigation. Ms. Weiler has appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Illinois Appellate Court. She has worked extensively on developing jury instructions for "non-traditional" felony-murder cases, and in litigating the constitutionality and applicability of Illinois' "firearm add-ons," which require an additional sentence when a defendant possesses or uses a gun during the course of certain offenses. In 2012, Professor Weiler received the James B. Haddad Award, given by the Appellate Defender's Board of Commissioners in recognition of her consistent high quality work and advocacy, and her significant contributions to the improvement of the justice system.
The Criminal Appeals Clinic is taught in a rotation by attorneys from the Office of the State Appellate Defender.